There’s nothing like kicking back with a beverage and a good meal after a day in the great outdoors of the Real America.
Day 1: Fly into the Real America Gateway City of Minneapolis, St. Paul & Bloomington where a cultural metropolis awaits. Situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, Minneapolis, St. Paul & Bloomington are home world-class shopping, entertainment and culinary experiences. Popular restaurant districts in Minneapolis, St, Paul & Bloomington include the Eat Street District and Nicollet Mall/Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis, the Selby Avenue Restaurant District in St. Paul and the expansive Mall of America in Bloomington. You’ll be sure to find delicious eats and drink no matter where your nose leads you in Minneapolis, St. Paul & Bloomington!
Summit Brewing Company (St. Paul)
Town Hall Brewery (Minneapolis)
Fulton Brewery (Minneapolis)
Surly Brewing Company (Minneapolis)
Great Waters Brewing Company (St. Paul)
Flat Earth Brewing Company (St. Paul)
Vine Park Brewing Company (St. Paul)
612Brew (St. Paul)
Badger Hill Brewing Company (St. Paul)
Overnight in Minneapolis, St. Paul & Bloomington
Day 2: In the morning, depart for Fargo, North Dakota via Interstate 94. Settled on the Minnesota-North Dakota border, this thriving university city is home to a bustling downtown, a ginormous replica of a Viking Ship at the Heritage-Hjemkomst Center, a museum dedicated to hometown hero Roger Maris at the Roger Maris Museum and the world-famous wood chipper from the movie named after the city. Spend the morning and early afternoon exploring Fargo, enjoy lunch and a cold beer or glass of wine before departing for Bismarck-Mandan, North Dakota’s version of the Twin Cities!
Fargo Brewing Company
The Winery & Bistro (wine bar)
Uncorked (wine bar)
Maple River Winery (Casselton-just west of Fargo)
Red Trail Vineyards (Buffalo-just west of Fargo)
The twin cities of Bismarck and Mandan are divided by the Missouri River. Go back in time at the newly renovated North Dakota Heritage Center and walk in General George Armstrong Custer’s footsteps at Fort Abraham Lincoln. Bismarck’s downtown area is home to a number of delicious eateries sure to delight any appetite.
Bird Dog Brewing Company (Mandan)
Edwinton Brewing Company (Bismarck)
Laughing Sun Brewing Company (Bismarck)
Vintners Winery (Bismarck)
Overnight in Bismarck
Day 3: Get an early start and travel west on Interstate 94. Head south of Gladstone for a little Americana on the Enchanted Highway, a 32-mile stretch of paved county highway that features giant concrete and metal sculptures.
Venture back toward I-94 and head to Dickinson and visit the unique Dakota Dinosaur Museum before heading into pristine Theodore Roosevelt National Park. These sprawling badlands are fittingly named after Theodore Roosevelt, the US President notorious for his conservation efforts.
After spending the afternoon in the park, head south on US-85 into South Dakota toward Belle Fourche. Visit Belle Joli, the local winery, before continuing onto Spearfish. Lying on the plains below the Black Hills, Spearfish is a small town with a large cultural scene. Walk the downtown shops and eat at the numerous local restaurants. Spearfish is also home to South Dakota’s largest craft brewer, Crow Peak. Spend the evening enjoying their finely crafted ales on their deck.
Overnight in Spearfish
Day 4: Start the morning with a beautiful drive through the spectacular Spearfish Canyon, which features windy roads, towering limestone cliffs and a number of roaring waterfalls. Continue on to the Old West town of Deadwood. Famously known for the HBO series, Deadwood is a rough and tumbled town where the legends of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane live on.
Spend the morning and afternoon walking the downtown area, visiting museums, exploring Mt. Moriah Cemetery or indulging in some handcrafted South Dakota wine!
Breweries in Deadwood:
Dakota Shivers Brewing (Lead)
Wineries in Deadwood:
Belle Joli Winery Tasting Room (Tasting room; winery located in Belle Fourche, SD)
Schadé Winery (Tasting room; winery located in Volga, SD)
Head back toward Interstate-90 through Boulder Canyon to Sturgis, home of the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Visit the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum or check out the various biker bars throughout town.
*Note: Many of the Rally bars in Sturgis are closed except during the Rally.
Return to Interstate-90 and travel east toward Rapid City, the second largest city in South Dakota. Rapid City is home to a number of wonderful museums and shops as well as a newly-revamped downtown scene that is home to a number of wonderful places to eat and drink. Spend your afternoon exploring the wide variety of places in Rapid City.
Breweries in Rapid City:
Firehouse Brewing Company
Hay Camp Brewing
Independent Ale House (Tap Room)
Wineries in Rapid City:
Firehouse Wine Cellars
Overnight in Rapid City
Day 5: Get an early start and travel southeast on SD-44 toward Badlands National Park. This seldom-driven highway offers visitors a unique ride through evolving landscapes while on the way into the park. Badlands National Park offers awe-inspiring views of other-worldly terrain, whose erosive qualities makes the park one of the richest fossil beds in the world. After spending the morning exploring the park, travel north to the small town of Wall and visit the world-famous Wall Drug store, known for its free ice water, quirky Americana and delicious donuts!
Travel back toward Rapid City on Interstate-90 and follow the exits for America’s Shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This American centerpiece is most famously known for the laborious efforts of the brave workers who painstakingly carved the effigies of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln into Black Hills granite in the 1920s & 30s.
Nearby Hill City offers visitors a pleasant surprise with its unique art scene, tasty restaurants, local breweries and award winning wineries. Grab dinner at the Alpine Inn, known for its filet mignon and decadent dessert menu.
Hill City Breweries:
Miner Brewing Company
Sick N Twisted Brewing Company
Hill City Wineries:
Prairie Berry Winery
Stone Faces Winery
Overnight in Hill City
Day 6: Head south of Hill City where another face is emerging from the granite outcroppings of the Black Hills. Crazy Horse Memorial is the homage to the great Lakota Sioux warrior who dedicated his life to preserving the culture of his ancestors.
The nearby town of Custer is home to a number of great restaurants and even has its own brewery, Bitter Esters, located on Mount Rushmore Road. Grab lunch at the Bugling Bull, who also features its own house brews and head out to explore the surrounding area. East of Custer lies Jewel Cave National Monument, the second largest cave in the world. West of Custer is Custer State Park, the second largest State Park in the United States. Custer State Park is also home to approximately 1,500 bison that oftentimes can be viewed a few feet from your vehicle. Please keep in mind that bison are wild animals and can become dangerous if provoked.
Depart for Wyoming in the afternoon. Stop by Devils Tower National Monument, the nation’s first national monument, before heading to Buffalo or Sheridan for the night. Located in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, these communities are home to some authentic Western dining experiences and a couple of great breweries.
Breweries in Buffalo & Sheridan:
Clear Creek Brewing Company (Buffalo)
Blacktooth Brewing Company (Sheridan)
Restaurants in Buffalo & Sheridan:
Historical Occidental Hotel
Overnight in Buffalo or Sheridan
Day 7: Depart for Billings, Montana in the morning via Interstate-90. Stop by the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument on the way to learn about the fateful day in June where General George Armstrong Custer and his men met their demise at the hands of the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors.
Arrive in Billings in the early afternoon. Billings is the largest city in Montana and is settled on the banks of the Yellowstone River, which feeds into the larger Missouri River in North Dakota.
Billings also boasts a bustling downtown with a number of delicious eateries and microbreweries all within walking distance as well as a unique distillery offering finely-crafted cocktails. Explore nearby Pompey’s Pillar, which contains the only physical evidence of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, or check out Pictograph State Park which features pre-historic cave drawings. Head back downtown and spend the evening enjoying this fine Montana community.
Angry Hank’s Micro Brewery
Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.
Montana Brewing Co.
Yellowstone Cellars & Winery
Overnight in Billings
Day 8: Begin the morning by continuing your exploration of Billings. Grab a late breakfast and head west on Interstate-90 toward Livingston. This spectacular interstate drive takes you by the beautiful Crazy Mountains. Take a relaxing stroll down Main Street Livingston and grab a cold pint at Neptune’s Brewery before heading north on US-89 through White Sulphur Springs. Stop by the Castle Museum and take in the Victorian architecture and historical museum.
Continue the journey on US-89 toward Great Falls. This section of road is known as the Kings Hill National Scenic Byway and offers breathtaking views of the Montana countryside.
Arrive in Great Falls, an authentic Western town located in the foothills of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front Range. Located only two hours from Glacier National Park, Great Falls serves as an excellent gateway to the park. Spend the afternoon doing some active adventure in the nearby Bob Marshall Wilderness or Giant Springs State Park. In the evening, walk amongst the various shops, dine at more than 100 restaurants or delve into the past at one of Great Falls’ wonderful museums such as the Charles Russel Museum or the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Hit the hay early because you will want to hit the road early tomorrow for Glacier National Park!
Breweries in Great Falls:
Bowser Brewing Company
Mighty Mo Brewing Company
Overnight in Great Falls
Day 9: Early bird gets the worm! Get an early start for a beautiful drive into Glacier National Park. There are three entrances to East Glacier, St. Mary, Two Medicine and Many Glacier Entrances. All three entrances can be reached by taking Highway 89 north from Great Falls to the town of Browning (approximately 125 miles) and then following signage to the respective entrance. The St. Mary Entrance is the east entry point of the Going-to-the-Sun-Road and provides access to the St. Mary Visitor Center and services at Rising Sun. The Many Glacier Entrance provides access to the Many Glacier Valley and visitor services at the Many Glacier Hotel and the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.
Glacier National Park is the largest concentration of glaciers in the lower 48 states. Spend the day exploring this expansive area of glacial-scoured valleys and towering peaks. Enjoy a nice meal at one of the park’s various restaurants before retiring to your lodging within the park.
*Note: lodging in Glacier National Park fills up fast so be sure to make reservations months in advance.
Overnight in Glacier National Park
Day 10: Start the day with a brisk morning hike in Glacier National Park. Explore the park to your heart’s content and travel west out of the park into the Flathead River Valley. The Flathead Valley craft breweries produce more than 40 varieties of ales and lagers using unique ingredients such as Montana grown malts, hand-picked local hops, Montana huckleberry juice and Flathead Cherries. Small batch spirits are hand crafted and bottled at area distilleries producing unique and award-winning whisky, gin, absinthe, rum and vodka. Three local wineries offer a range of wines from locally grown Montana fruit to Northwest pinots and merlots. You can also find many of these local beverages served in Kalispell bars and restaurants. Travel toward the bordering town of Columbia Falls where you can visit Flathead Lake Winery or nearby Glacier Distilling.
Continue your journey to Whitefish. This small ski town packs a big punch, with numerous options for an exquisite lunch. After lunch, enjoy a pint or two at The Great Northern Brewing Company before departing for Kalispell. On the way to Kalispell, test your palate at Glacier Sun Winery.
Kalispell is the largest town in the Flathead River Valley of Northwestern Montana. The town of Kalispell and the nearby wilderness areas offer a wide variety of opportunities for sightseeing, active adventure, shopping and dining. Venture onto the crystal-clear waters of Flathead Lake or visit one of many downtown art galleries. Enjoy a relaxing dinner and finish the night with some beer sampling at Kalispell Brewing Company.
Kalispell Brewing Company
Tamarack Brewing Company
Overnight in Kalispell
Day 11: Enjoy a relaxing morning in Kalispell with some outdoor activity or shopping. Both eastern and western shores of Flathead Lake are home to breweries, wineries and distilleries for those interested in afternoon libations. On the east shore of the lake near Bigfork are Whistling Andy Distillery and Flathead Lake Brewing. The western shore of Flathead Lake is home to Tamarack Brewing, located in Lakeside just south of Kalispell, and Mission Mountain Winery near Dayton.
Head south 90 miles to the college town of Missoula. Nestled in the Northern Rockies of Montana, surrounded by seven wilderness areas and at the confluence of three rivers, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. In addition to the boundless opportunities for outdoor recreation, popular sites in Missoula include the Smokejumpers Visitor Center, the Montana Natural History Center, the shops on Higgins Avenue, the nearby communities in the Bitterroot Valley and of course, a wide selection of handcrafted brews and wines. Take your time and take in your beautiful surroundings. Spend the evening enjoying a nice meal at one of numerous Missoula eateries and enjoy a few drinks at one or more of the local breweries, wineries or distilleries.
Big Sky Brewing Co.
Kettle House Brewing Co.
Tamarack Brewing Co.
Bayern Brewing Inc.
Flathead Brewing Co.
Blacksmith Brewing Co.
Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery
Missoula Winery and Event Center
Lolo Peak Winery Inc.
Overnight in Missoula
Day 12: Start the morning by traveling southeast toward the mining town of Butte. On the way, stop in Philipsburg to mine for authentic Montana sapphires! Arrive in Butte in late morning. This copper mecca was once one of the most thriving cities in the west. Explore historical downtown which includes the Copper King Mansion, the former residence of copper tycoon William Andrews Clark. Stop by Headframe Spirits for a delicious cocktail or one of the local breweries before continuing on to Virginia City and Nevada City.
Butte Brewing Company
Quarry Brewing Company
The Old West mining towns of Virginia City and Nevada City have been restored to reflect the boom days when settlers and miners migrated to Montana in the late 1800s. Spend the afternoon exploring the historic shops, theatres and houses before continuing on to the cattle-driving town and cultural epicenter of Bozeman.
Bozeman, MT, the home of Montana State University, is a relatively large community that has attracted residents from all over the country. The result is an eclectic cultural mix that maintains its Western heritage. Popular sites in Bozeman include the Museum of the Rockies, the Gallatin History Museum and the numerous local art galleries and shops that line Main Street. Bozeman also has a large selection of microbreweries, wineries and distilleries to choose from. Take in all this beautiful mountain town has to offer and enjoy a nice meal before heading back to the hotel. Off to Yellowstone in the morning!
Bozeman Brewing Co.
Bridger Brewing Co.
406 Brewing Co.
Madison River Brewing Co.
Old Hatchery Winery
RoughStock Montana Whiskey
Bozeman Spirits Distillery
Overnight in Bozeman
Day 13: Get an early start in the morning for the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park. This awe-inspiring landscape covers an expansive 2,000,000 acres and visitors need ample time to explore the park. Drive through the park’s north entrance, going under the famous Roosevelt Arch. Popular sites in Yellowstone include Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Lake, Old Faithful, Lamar and Hayden Valleys and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with its inspirational view of Lower Falls. Spend the day and evening exploring the park and keep an eye out for wildlife! Enjoy a decadent meal at Lake Hotel, which lies on the shores of Yellowstone Lake before returning to your lodging for the evening.
*Note: lodging in Yellowstone National Park fills up fast so be sure to make reservations months in advance.
Overnight in Yellowstone National Park
Day 14: Begin the morning by traveling south out the park toward Grand Teton National Park. This spectacular mountain range is one of the most recognized and most photographed mountains in the world. Spend the morning exploring Grand Teton National Park. Popular stops within the park include: Grand Teton National Park Visitors Center, the 42-mile Scenic Loop Drive, Jenny Lake and outdoor recreation. Continue on to the vibrant town of Jackson Hole.
Located a short distance from Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole embodies much of what makes Western culture so great. Enjoy a Wildlife Safari or visit the National Elk Refuge to view some majestic Rocky Mountain wildlife; ride a tram to the top of a mountain ridge and view the expansive valley below; saddle up at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar or visit the world-famous Silver Dollar Bar located in the Wort Hotel. Walk the shops on Main Street; enjoy a cold pint at Snake River Brewery or a fragrant glass of wine at Jackson Hole Winery.
Overnight in Jackson
Day 15: Travel south of Jackson to the small community of Pinedale. Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, is home to the Museum of the Mountain Man as well as the Wind River Brewing Company. Explore Pinedale and grab a quick lunch before continuing to Laramie.
Laramie, home of the University of Wyoming, is another Western town whose heritage runs deep. Nature enthusiasts can explore the nearby Medicine Bow National Forest, Snowy Mountain Range or Vedauwoo while history enthusiasts can visit the Wyoming Territorial Prison and Old West Park and the University of Wyoming Geological Museum. Head over to Altitude Chophouse & Brewery for some fine dining and small batch ales.
Overnight in Laramie
Day 16: The final day of the voyage has arrived! Depart for Cheyenne in the morning. Located 50 miles from Laramie, Cheyenne is the home of Frontier Days, the largest rodeo and western celebration in the world. Options in Cheyenne include the Cheyenne Depot and Depot Museum, the Wyoming State Capitol and State Museum, the Big Boy Steam Engine or Downtown Cheyenne. Grab lunch and a quick pint at Freedom’s Edge Brewing Co. before traveling south on Interstate-25 to Denver.
Tour Denver, with its outstanding collections of museums as well as excellent shopping in Cherry Creek Shopping Center and Larimer Square, tasty microbreweries, a restored section of Victorian Denver filled with quaint old buildings, gas lamps, courtyards and gardens, and legendary Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. Explore Denver to your hearts content until your flight departure. If you’re not ready to return home, spend some extra time taking in all that Denver and the surrounding area has to offer. Cheers!
Denver Beer Co.
Prost Brewing Co.
Great Divide Brewing Co.
Vine Street Pub & Brewery
Strange Craft Brewing Co.
River North Brewing Co.
The Infinite Monkey Theorem
Mile High Winery
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
Mile High Spirits
Leopold Bros. Distillery
Departure or Overnight in Denver